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Image / Fashion

What is toile — and why is fashion obsessed with it right now?

by Freya Drohan
26th Apr 2019

Toile — that’s pronounced ‘tw-all’ for those of us outside of France — is having a moment. Well, really, it can be argued that it’s been having a moment since the late 18th century.

Toile de Jouy, to use its full name, essentially means cloth from Jouy-en-Josas; an area southwest of Paris. This signature patterned, cotton fabric that is still prevalent today originated in a textile factory in 1760 — so yes, you can definitely see why it has that ‘vintage’ look. The original versions usually depicted hand-drawn, thinly sketched pastoral scenes or imagery of the French countryside. Today, toile can bear any kind of print or colour, although the most common are still blues, reds, and blacks.

While toile has remained popular in the interiors world, it has enjoyed a real resurgence as of late, thanks largely to Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior. Her impeccably detailed canvas Book Tote (you know the one, that every influencer seems to have a custom monogrammed version of) and similarly elaborate toile scarfs, shirts and shoes have been steadily bringing an antiquated style of luxury back to the fore.

Related: Oversize straw accessories are in — these nine pieces will make you want to book a holiday

Oscar de la Renta’s design duo Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia sang from the same hymn sheet too, with toile bathing suits and ballgowns, and the distinctive printed fabric has been steadily creeping into collections at Gucci, Tibi, Acne, Tory Burch and Rachel Antonoff.

Tibi Spring Summer 2019


Acne Spring Summer 2019


Feeling French and fancy? Here are ten options to shop right now.

Tabatha Dress, €177 from


Jungle Print Souvenir Shirt Dress, €79 from


Delphine Lace Up Shorts by For Love & Lemons, €180 from


Jungle Toile Shoes, €51.72 from


Floral Boilersuit by BDG, €95 from


Lace Up Midi Dress, €23.15 from


Minilite Umbrella, €32 from


Midi Dress, €186 from


Floral Midi Dress by Glamorous, €62.50 from


Bridget Maxi by LoveShackFancy, €531 from


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